In American and Canadian football, a two-point conversion is a play a team attempts instead of kicking a one-point convert immediately after it scores a touchdown. In a two-point conversion attempt, the team that just scored must run a play from close to the opponent's goal line (5-yard line in Canadian, 3-yard line in amateur American, 2-yard line in professional American) and advance the ball across the goal line in the same manner as if they were scoring a touchdown. If the team succeeds, it earns two additional points on top of the six points for the touchdown. If the team fails, no additional points are scored. In either case, the team proceeds to a kickoff.
Various sources estimate the success rate of a two-point conversion to be between 40% and 55%, significantly lower than that of the extra point, though if the higher value is to be believed, a higher expected value is achieved through the two-point conversion than the extra point.
Adoption of rule
The two-point conversion rule has been used in college football since 1958 and more recently in Canadian amateur football and the Canadian Football League. In overtime situations in college football, the two-point conversion is the mandatory method of scoring after a touchdown beginning with the third overtime.
The American Football League used the two-point conversion during its ten seasons from 1960 to 1969. After the NFL merged with the AFL, the rule did not immediately carry over to the merged league, though they experimented in 1968 with a compromise rule (see below). The NFL adopted the two-point conversion rule in 1994, prompted by its usage in the short-lived USFL.
The NFL's developmental league, NFL Europe (and its former entity, the World League of American Football), adopted the two-point conversion rule for its entire existence from 1991 through 2007.
Six-man football reverses the extra point and the two-point conversion: because there is no offensive line in that league, making kick protection more difficult, plays from scrimmage are worth one point but successful kicks are worth two. It is also reversed in many high school football and youth football leagues, since there are not often skilled kickers at that level. A variant of this, especially at the youth level, is to allow one point for a running conversion, two points for a passing conversion, and two points for a successful kick.
The Arena Football League recognized the two-point conversion for its entire existence, allowing for either a play from scrimmage or a drop kick to be worth two points. (The additional extra point for a drop kick is unique to arena football.)
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